Editorial: Don’t segregate history, too
The bad thing about Black History Month is simple: It’s relegated to one month, as if that’s the only time it should be studied, discussed and celebrated.
It has always been a patronizing observance and exercise, but one often grudgingly accepted by blacks, who fear that without it, even more of their rich history will be ignored.
Black History Month comes every February, so why bring it up in July? All the recent discussion about Confederate flags and monuments has served as a good wake-up call. Are we doing enough — and have we done enough up until now — to preserve African-American history?
The former J.C. Price High School is a good example. Price High is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a Rosenwald School, a program that between 1913 and 1932 produced 4,977 schools, 217 teachers’ homes and 163 shop buildings, serving 663,625 students in 15 states.
Julius Rosenwald, the man behind Sears, contributed more than $4.3 million to the school-building program, and African-American communities raised an additional $4.7 million. The program was a major force in rural school design, and it successfully created positive, orderly and healthy environments for learning.
J.C. Price High’s impact on Salisbury history from 1932 to 1969 cannot be denied nor should it be separated out. Attending a meeting about Price High Friday, resident William Peoples said when people talk about Salisbury, they often talk about its history.
But you have to talk about the whole history, Peoples said. J.C. Price was part of it. So was Dixonville. So were Lincoln and Monroe Street schools. So are the city’s historic black churches and Livingstone College. What do we really know about black business history in Salisbury, black medical history or black sports history?
Historic Price High needs new windows, especially to its rear, and the auditorium, which once could seat 500 students, also could stand a complete renovation. As Peoples said, it’s not just a project for black people, it’s for the city’s history — something we all should have a stake in.
“You can’t have separate histories,” Peoples said. “You have to have the whole history.”
It’s hard to say it better.